At least 21 dead as California wildfires rage across wine region

Ajustar Comentario Impresión

Firefighters are still struggling to contain the wildfires that have killed at least 23 people, destroyed 3,500 structures and left hundreds missing across northern California's wine country.

Mr Ray Signorello Jr, head of the Signorello Estate winery that was destroyed by the fires, said on Facebook that its staff fought the blaze overnight on Sunday but had to pull back when the flames reached the main building.

Constellation Brands, the large wine, spirits and beer producer headquartered in the Rochester area, is working to assess any damage to its California facilities. The sticks, trees and underbrush on the ground get hot from the sun, then very dry.

House after house, block after block has been obliterated, leaving smouldering piles of ash dotted by brick chimneys and the skeletons of burned-out cars.

Most of the firefighters being reassigned have no idea what they'll be facing up north. They've been too busy with the Canyon Fire to pay attention to what's happening in other regions.

"That's one of the prevailing questions I've gotten", Santa Rosa Vice Mayor Jack Tibbetts said Wednesday about the first two days of the fires.

They just hope that their extra resources will be able to make a difference this time.

"They know at some point, there's going to be someone doing it for them in their neighborhood", said Wyatt.

Sonoma and Napa counties has more than 100,000 acres of wine grapes and are home to more than 650 wineries, according to the Wine Institute. Until now, the efforts have focused on "life safety" rather than extinguishing the blazes, partly because the flames were shifting with winds and targeting new communities without warning.

More than 20 wildfires have ravaged eight counties including Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino. Help find, reunite people missing in North Bay firesNorth Bay residents are trying to find lost loved ones, to sift through the remains of lost homes, to count, identify and mourn the dozens of dead - all while the fires rage on. The Atlas Fire in Napa County and Solano County grew by 5,000 acres to 48,228 acres and is now 27 percent contained, that's up from 7 percent yesterday.

It is not yet clear what started the fires in California, but officials say power lines blown over by strong winds could be the cause. The more fuel there is, the more violently the fire will burn.

"This is the reality", Giordano said. "Then you can win and suppress it really effectively". As of October 11, there is no rain in the forecast for the next week and humidity levels are low.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes, "Wildfires, a longstanding and frequent threat to California, are expected to increase in intensity and frequency due to climate change".